High-tide on the day of war, before we are drowned into another twilight of repressed and forgotten truths, engulfed in the light of explosions ‚ last year in Afghanistan, this year in Iraq, every year, for fifty-five years, in the land historically known as Palestine ‚ we ask: how do we change our world to change our fate? This question points directly to the ethics of our intentions and practices for it is no longer possible to question the urgency and the imperatives. The world must change if we are to live with one another in dignity. To live with ourselves, we must change. The empire is unmasked, yet again. Rulers are at work to redraw the map, yet again. Bodies have lined up to stand witness to this violence, yet again. Violations are countless and cannot be checked against the anachronistic terms of "human rights." Bombs, tanks, armoured helicopters, guns and missiles are not bound by any charters, and our utopian investments in international laws and institutions have failed to produce any profits except for the profiteers at war for more control over land, resources, human lives and histories. Resistance was yesterday's response. Today, openly formulated insurgence is a reality.
The Second Palestinian Intifada, which erupted in September of 2000, provides an instance of such insurgency. This is a new phase in the century-long Palestinian history of anti-colonial struggles, ongoing since 1897. Contrary to mainstream representations, the Intifada is not simply a localized Palestinian nationalist response to the repressive Israeli occupation and its war machine; rather, it is a demonstration of indigenous peoples' refusal to surrender their agency to the hegemonic hold of colonial regimes. In spite of the gross imbalance of powers, the Palestinians have risen up, yet again, to challenge colonialism's intrinsically xenophobic discourses and its structural patterns of exclusion and domination. More than anything else, the Intifada exposes the failures of colonialism to subjugate the will of the Palestinian people and silence dissenting voices.
The radicalization of this will has swept over the checkpoints and barbed wire to infiltrate the consciousness of Israelis and of people around the world. The new forms of Palestinian-Israeli and transnational collaboration ‚ manifested through organizations such as the International Solidarity Movement and Ta'ayush ‚ draw on a renewed will to organize civil communities in countering economic, political and military colonization. Such social mobilization calls for different forms of representation; for a thorough shake-up in our habits of thought. It calls for a conceptual creativity that sets out to ethically enact strategies of change and pragmatically prefigure the horizons of a different world. This, we believe, is the fertile land where a new insurgent art movement can grow.
For this exhibition, we called on artists to formulate and realize the ways in which transdisciplinary artistic practices can nourish stronger, more ethically accountable, multi-faceted and multi-vocal responses to the social imperatives we face. A gathering of politically responsive work, WILL is dedicated to the project of change: excavating, remembering, coming to voice, naming and, rooted in the depths of consciousness, actively intervening in the social field. The modes of intervention utilized by the projects in WILL exceed conventional practices of representational art. Each work shown in this exhibit has emerged through intense negotiations and co-labouring, of which the ultimate products are the social and personal relations and transformations that transcend the artwork. Here the artwork is only a landmark for new conceptions. The real work is ongoing, constantly evolving and defiant of representation as it unfolds in the plains of awareness and action.
WILL provides opportunities for engagement, and asks that we engage differently. We encourage you to actively participate and contribute your labour to this work.
Gita Hashemi and Hanadi Loubani for Negotiations Working Group